Sharing ministries offer alternative to buying health insurance

MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) — For Christians willing to sign a statement of faith and pledge to live by biblical standards, there's a legal alternative to buying health insurance.

The Affordable Care Act exempts members of health care sharing ministries "which share a common set of ethical or religious beliefs and share medical expenses among members in accordance with those beliefs."

Three established ministries that fit the law's requirements are Medi-Share, Samaritan Ministries and Christian Healthcare Ministries.

Tony Meggs, whose ministry includes Medi-Share, says its tens of thousands of members submit a written testimony of their faith in Jesus Christ and pledge not to abuse alcohol or prescription drugs, not to use illegal drugs and not to have sex outside of Christian marriage.

Christians who join health care sharing ministries also can legally avoid buying insurance that covers abortion, contraceptives or other things they find objectionable.

Sound: upcoming

Online:

Legal exemption: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2011-title26/html/USCODE-2011-title26-subtitleD-chap48.htm

Medi-Share: http://mychristiancare.org

Samaritan Ministries: http://samaritanministries.org

Christian Healthcare Ministries: http://www.chministries.org